Prairie State Legal Services is a not-for-profit law firm that provides civil legal services at no fee to the poor, elderly, and people with disabilities in 36 counties in northern and central Illinois. In almost all of those counties, Prairie State is the only source of civil legal aid for low-income, elderly and disabled residents. Prairie State provides excellent opportunities for law students to perform meaningful work and gain valuable experience by assisting clients who need legal help to address their basic human needs. Prairie State has 12 local offices, all of which are possible locations for a Fellowship. This summer Internship position is available in our Peoria service office, which assists clients in 10 counties in central and western Illinois.
PSLS represents clients in a variety of substantive areas of law including housing, landlord-tenant, foreclosure defense, disabilities, utilities, public benefits, health, consumer, family, and domestic violence. PSLS also has a tax clinic through which it provides advice and representation to low income individuals in tax controversies. Opportunities are available for potential Interns & Fellows interested in Prairie State’s general work as well as for potential Interns & Fellows interested in concentrating their work with the tax clinic. Attorneys represent clients before administrative agencies, and at the trial and appellate levels in both state and federal court. Prairie State staff members are actively involved in the communities they serve and work closely with social service providers and others to address issues facing low-income, elderly and disabled persons. The program values creative and collaborative approaches to solving problems. Community education is an important component of the program’s work, as one way to maximize the program’s impact in a large geographic area. Prairie State works hard to ensure that law students are assigned substantive work and have the opportunity for client contact. Tasks assigned to students include interviewing clients and witnesses, gathering evidence, performing legal research, and as the student’s skills permit, engaging in negotiations and advocating for clients before administrative agencies. Students who are eligible for a 711 license may appear in court on behalf of clients.